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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 3:18 pm 
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Do you need data and literature to tell you how to drive a car? Or how to treat a lady?


The reason I am asking for data and literature is because my personal experience in the field seems contradictory to the concept that handling timbers causes them harm. You're telling me to judge for myself what to do, and I have. Others have expressed their opinions, but everyone's opinions are different. That's why I'm asking for research or facts. I go to basically the same core group of about a half dozen dens each year, in the course of 2 or 3 round-ups. All of them have remained healthy. However, I have only been doing this for 4 years. My field experience absolutely pales in comparison to some of the members of this forum. But while I might be new to this, my mentor, my grandfather is not. He has visited the same dens for the last half century. And the snakes are at the dens, year after year, whether or not he disturbs them. This is just my experience, and like I said, I don't have all that much.

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but one of the reasons people refrain from messing with gravid females is that disturbance can cause them to abandon their gestation sites.


I don't ever mess with females or small snakes. The only snakes I ever handle are large males, except for one nuisance female and her litter.


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Unless there REALLY IS A NEED, that right there is all you need to know. You're not glossing over the fact that these things can kill you, are you?



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over the course of the decades I had a medium-large (30-60) collection of venomous snakes


And what is the NEED for a collection of 60 venomous snakes?

If you are doing biological or pharmacological research, or breeding them for profit, I have no problem with that.
But I don't know everybody's past experiences and qualifications. That's the problem with a forum. I only get to see what people post, and make my rebuttal based on that, not the big picture.

Kelly MC- What on earth does auto-asphyxiation have to do with timber rattlesnakes?? You lost me there...


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 3:50 pm 

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Ha ha, hey Kelly.

I guess I'm doing like Gerry does (ah, crap!) and talking to anyone who cares to read, not just to the guy asking the question. Kind of like with the secrecy thing here, there's a strong current of finger-wagging I think, around close interaction with venomous. I like to try & encourage those who might be interested, but may be silenced by the overt shunning, to not stay in the shadows. Where they might get hurt. Better to come out, say hi, and learn any way but the real hard way. Who knows, maybe 1617 is sincere. Maybe not. Doesn't matter, really, if someone gets some help. When I was 15 I was pinning big helleri & specks like a complete dumbass. Didn't have the internet and all...luck preceded wisdom. Truly. Luck doesn't hold forever, sometimes not even long enough. There's a guy just made a data request to NAFHA, an academic with some name recognition nowadays...luck abandoned him when he was about 15. Well...I guess he did survive that big helleri bite...barely. Anyway, after making it through that high-school indiscretion he kept his passion alive long enough to stomach all the shit they serve chasing a PhD, and now he's living the dream. I cannot doubt there are some here that will go on to do great things, if they can survive "fledging".

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Counting seconds of auto asphixiation with his moms nylons

Thanks for the visual, I really needed that. Nasty. I actually had a very close friend - my best man - with a co-worker, Skip, who was after a few days' missing found at home hanging dead from this...uh...practice. Skip seemed like an alright guy, we all used to have a few beers, go bowling and shoot pool. Skip isn't skipping any more. He's worm food. However - thanks for the segue opportunity:

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And what is the NEED for a collection of 60 venomous snakes?


Hey Jake,
There ain't none. Doesn't need to be a need. Like nobody here or anywhere else needs to be alive. We just are alive, until we are not alive. No need to it whatsoever.

Anyway, that wasn't what I was talking about - I said the need to handle them. There can be a need to put your hands on them, if you have decided to temporarily or permanently deprive them of their freedom, or have assumed the responsibility to provide all their physical needs - but usually if you think on it some, there's another way to do whatever you need to do (give injections, remove stuck eye-caps, force-feed, whatever), than to put your hands on them. At least, on their heads. Thus, there is usually no real need to handle them.

Only fools handle venomous snakes more than they need to - it is literally a death-defying activity. Mortals can't really defy death, we can only put it off. Or - we can invite it to have its way with us, by putting our hands on rattlesnakes, or by strangling ourselves while flogging the dolphin, or whatever. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 5:10 pm 
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I'd personally like to see more invested by the powers that be in TR research. This is a species that is currently in the clutches of a twofold attack. Aside from the usual habitat destruction that all wildlife is subjected to, there is a deep rooted prejudice against snakes in general and the TR specifically by a large segment of the populous which happens to share their habitat. I would like to see educational efforts intensified so that locals may one day view the TR as something to be cherished rather than something fit only for destruction.

We have done educational programs for many years from one end of our state to the other and it is sadly apparant that fear and ignorance is the order of the day when it comes to TRs. With much effort we manage to reach a few, but hatred of these snakes is so deeply ingrained within the local cultures that it is an up hill struggle. This is especially true with the older citizens that are firmly set in their ways. Fortunately many of the younger generation at least appear to be more receptive to tolerance of these magnificent animals.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 5:52 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:46 am
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Phil Peak wrote:
I'd personally like to see more invested by the powers that be in TR research.
Phil





For christ’s sake enough with so much 'research' for now how about first some applying what we already know about them? Research has it's place but how about more emphasis on things with an immediate and direct effect on the snakes themselves? You know, nongame wildlife management? Or habitat management? Forestry practices? State by state if not federal protection? These are also things that the common herper can actually have some say in to some degree.

Our understanding of this species is about 100 years ahead of what we actually apply in their habitat in most states; that’s ridiculous.... Besides the wild inconsistency from state to state(even county to county if you want to include wetlands that they also use of course).

And YES to educating the masses, even on the most basic level! The amount of ignorance and misinformation out there is overwhelming about rattlers and other venomous species. Even in positions related to getting laws made that offer protection to the snakes- I see it all over the place.The only publicity they get is bad publicity(another reason NOT to handle them)…. Meanwhile we ‘preach to the choir’ on here .

Even getting listed on a state level or otherwise RAISES PUBLIC AWARENESS and that spreads ‘among the herd’, so it’s really another form of educating in that sense.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 8:51 am 
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Ugh is one the right track. I would add that research needs to be component of any management actions though to assess the effectiveness of that action in meeting the needs of the species.

Regarding handling, there was an interesting talk by Harry Green on skull trauma in preserved venomous snakes. A large percentage of the snakes had broken bones in their skulls probably due to pinning before preservation. These were professional herpetologists that probably didn't think they harming the animals with their handling techniques.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 1:46 pm 
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Ugh,

Research leads to sound and effective nongame wildlife conservation strategies. I do share your frustration that more is not done with what we already know however.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 3:36 pm 

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Research leads to sound and effective nongame wildlife conservation strategies.


It absolutely can do so. It absolutely does not necessarily do so. It has long been the case that management and research, or species management&research and habitat management&research, are woefully disarticulated from each other.

In arguing my funding- and staffing-allocation cases "inside the machine", I often lay out an argument like this:

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A useful conceptual model of wildlife-diversity management is, we've basically got 3 kinds of critters:
1) the kinds we just don't hardly understand at all - where do they live, what habitats serve them best, what do they eat, how many babies do they have and how often, etc
2) the kinds we understand well enough that we could save them right now, if only we could muster the will to get organized and get busy and just do it
3) the kinds we still need to know some things to achieve "final victory", but that we know enough to get started now - we can learn what we need to, as we do what we need to

Category 1, to me, is a pure-research kind of critter.
2 is pure management - if you ask me for a nickel to study one of these, I might pull a gun on you. There just isn't enough time or money to fund & staff your pet project.
3 is management and outcomes-monitoring, or management and very applied research.


Does this conceptual model make sense to you all? If so, tell me people, what kind of critter is the timber rattlesnake? Is it a 1, 2, or 3? Surely it depends on exactly where we're talking about...but do we agree it's no longer a "1" anywhere, is it? Most places, I'm thinking it's a "2". Some places I'd concede it's a "3". But spending money on research or monitoring? Then it better be extremely management-relevant. Otherwise, it better be your own money - don't go asking, and don't complain about not getting any.

I do not consider conservation to be something that exists to provide employment or education - it is not a social program or an entitlement. We educate and employ people to solve conservation problems.

The acquisition of information is a crucial step in problem-solving. But it needs to be put to use. In perfect candor - I do not see enough of that in our institution of nongame wildlife management. Instead, I see way too much emphasis on "gathering more data". I've come to see it as displacement behavior. Just the view from here. But I've got a great vantage point. Some others see the same thing, whether they are inside or outside.

Those of you who feel like I do, tell it to your agencies. Make them do something. Offer to help with the outcomes-monitoring, or the applied research, so the agencies can spend a bigger fraction of the limited funds on actual management.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 4:48 pm 
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Unfortunately, most management practices seem to fall short of protecting key habitats and seem to focus on "no take" or bag limits as a primary conservation solution. My observations lead me to believe that most people are not even aware of this token protection and in fact usually ignore it completely even if they are aware. Humans continue to slaugter TRs indescriminately and at will. They are shot with guns, driven over on roads and generally exterminated by any means possible. Oddly enough, even though TRs may be "protected" from collection, wanton slaughter is not regulated in some states. Its as if no one wants to make a law that legislates the right of a citizen to "protect" themselves. dogs, livestock and family, from the perils of a wild and dangerous animal. We all know this is so much baloney, but this is the reality.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 5:45 pm 
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I found a total of 4 in southern TN in the months of July - August.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 10:00 pm 

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Unfortunately, most management practices seem to fall short of protecting key habitats and seem to focus on "no take" or bag limits as a primary conservation solution.


More displacement behavior. Same value to conservation outcomes as "more study": little, or none.

25-30 years ago "protecting" rattlesnakes may have been avant-garde and a decent first step (important for evolving managers' attitudes, if nothing else). However, decades of more study - and little else - since then have gotten us what? More massassaugas? More northern timbers? I think people are just inherently vulnerable to "seduction by technique" - I think we hope for magic bullets to come from research. We try to find technical solutions for problems that are not technical. If people hate and kill snakes, passing a law making it illegal to kill snakes isn't going to stop them. Only stopping their hate will stop the killing. There isn't a pill or an app to stop their hate. That takes person-to-person work. Probably on their kids or grandkids.

I think the real requirements to increase survival and recruitment "vital rates" for imperiled horridus populations are 1) to get everyday people to be willing to coexist with rattlesnakes, and 2) super-targeted land acquisition, habitat stewardship, and education & "snake rescue" (from back yards, garages, etc). Basically: abate sources of mortality and increase the supply of limiting factors (prey base, safe basking sites for gravid females, hibernacula, migration pathways, whatever). In the long term (which is another way of saying "better start now") we probably need to figure out how to reintroduce them to suitable, secure places where they've been extirpated. Maybe a state like New York would be the best for that - there are some animals left to work with, but definitely some spots they could be reintroduced. But...I'm just making this crap up - "I think" - and there are local experts on here that surely know better.

So don't accept the displacement behaviors of trivial management actions and frivolous study. Demand better. Learn (by doing) how to be more effective as a stakeholder and a partner and a lobbyist and an educator.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 2:30 am 
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Yes, there 's no escaping the fact that there needs to be a shift of mind set within those that come in contact with these snakes. Education at the grassroots level is the only viable option IMO.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 5:47 am 

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Phil these folks you’re talking about- I guess this is in Kentucky- are ignorant, and they are criminals. Both of those traits can be fixed with education of course, unless you’re just talking about total assholes. I know you interact with local folks face to face. The young people can still learn in more variable setting like a classroom or camp or nature center, etc. But I don’t know of a better way to convert the older, grown folks than just talking to them-especially when you can have a live specimen handy to show them-seeing is believing. Obviously if they knew more about the species they wouldn’t be killing them. I see it all the time, a direct correlation between how much someone knows about the TR, and whether or not they kill ‘em when they see ‘em.

I find an animal for demonstration( if the situation allows it, maybe seeing someone about to run one over, or finding one in their yard,etc.) more effective than me talking till I’m blue in the face, no matter how friendly. Luckily I’ve been in enough different parts of this species range to finally see there are educated woodsmen that appreciate or at least respect this species enough that they don’t kill them on sight. What else can you attribute that to besides a familiarity with the species through education? This in places where there are laws in place protecting the TR, but the citizens have to be classy enough to repsect the law. Some places the majority just doesn’t seem to be so, and I avoid them because they just disgust me too much. I have absolutely no use for those types of people but someone should still try to reach them if they can stand to be in their presence for more than 10 minutes lol.


Jimi, well said, all of it ! I don’t believe I'm the only other person here that gets what you’re typing, I hope not.

More research’ is NOT at all what this species needs-far from it-right now…..If procurement of more habitat isn’t an option, improvement of current habitat is, and it’s a relatively easy solution. It’s a slight tweaking of forestry practices.

There seems to be just way too much assuming that the state agencies where this species occurs are and will properly handle things in the best interest of the snakes. That’s kidding yourselves. And this is by some of what seem to be very knowledgeable folks with considerable experience with the species, C. horridus; this really surprises me. This mass worship of all this ‘research’ here is ubsurd. Folks willing to sit on the sidelines and read about it on this site rather than getting up off their asses and communicating/interacting with THEIR government(remember it’s ‘for the people’?) agencies that may or may not have a clue about how to address these issues affecting species such as the TR. And if someone points out submitting records to this or that database I’ll go the F off! LOL.

It requires more interaction. Verbal, written, and things done in the field as well. Here’s one example of mine, a written and face-to- face interaction that led to a rare herp-related habitat ‘victory’ this year:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13301&p=165569#p165569


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 8:10 am 
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I agree with much that's being said here, of course, and my efforts to persuade Phil to look into applying some of what's already known about timbers in his part of the country via population modeling rather than waiting until more data comes in attests to that. But there are a couple of things that are popping up again in this thread that as a scientist I feel compelled to address:

The difference between pure and applied science isn't how much is known about a subject but rather whether the subject is being studied with some subsequent application in mind. Pure research can be and is conducted in very well-known areas, and applied research can be and is conducted in very poorly known areas.

Pure science is only "frivolous" by definition to those who apparently can't see value in knowledge beyond some or another utilitarian purpose of particular interest to them. (Heck, I've even seen some people declare all science to be "frivolous," "a waste," "utter BS," etc. except that which is specifically meant to aid their particular utilitarian purpose, and theirs alone. Obviously a petroleum engineer, industrial chemist, architect, etc. is going to have a different perspective on usefulness than a wildlife conservationist; is anyone here really going to try to argue that one of these perspectives is right and the others are wrong?) Fortunately, knowledge in and of itself has always been valued by modern humanity - whether someone here can see that value or not - and may it always be so!

It is not the failing of either scientists or their research when managers/conservationists don't apply study results. The primary purpose of the scientist is to conduct quality science, to acquire knowledge in a rigorously defined manner. Wildlife management/conservation might or might not be a secondary purpose, but generally the scientist him/herself is not in a position to directly apply the knowledge s/he obtains even if s/he fervently wishes to do so; that's the job of - yup, you guessed it! - those managers/conservationists.

Following on the above points, it's not only unfair but also pointless to slam scientists or research simply because a study doesn't produce an application one wants to be produced (regardless of the study's actual intent), or hasn't been properly applied where it could be. Talk about displacement behavior! :roll:

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 2:18 pm 
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You are correct on both accounts and yes, we also have our fair share of assholes. Make no mistake though, this is not a condition unique to KY. Its all over the internet each year both on this site and others where TRs are needlessly butchered. Hunting and Outdoor message boards seem to be particularly fertile grounds.

I'm also very familiar with the differences between reaching the young as opposed to the adults which are more apt to be set in their ways and reluctant to broaden their sensitivities when it comes to TRs. We have actually reached a small number of folks which are now former TR killers and have come to develop either an appreciation for them or at least a tollerance. Most we can't reach. Some positive change has occured but it is a continuous process of two steps forward, one step back.

The term research covers a lot of territory and I'm not referring to a repetition of what we already know. I'm actually referring to the type of applied research that might lead to better management practices. One example of this is telemetry studies which provides a wealth of information that can lead to more effective conservation strategies. I think we can all agree that research without applied results equates to little.

As I mentioned earlier in this discussion I believe education to be of paramount importance. We have given dozens of formal presentations in our state and regionally, as well as countless impromptu snake conservation talks on the fly while in the field. I agree with the hands on approach you discuss in your post above and as for ourselves, we have a very active and open relationship with our states Fish and Game department which has yielded favorable results.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 3:10 pm 

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Fantastic, this all sounds great Phil. Unfortunately, when you're working with a lot of people - getting anywhere "is so slow it hurts"! I think that's probably what you're struggling with - the frustration one gets when dealing with people.

Still - it really does sound like you're on the right track. When I was in Florida I did a lot of the same stuff and had the same kinds of experiences you describe - lots of snake talks to groups, almost all with live animals (mostly venomous), and lots of conversations and (fewer) site visits when people had called the office with "snake problems". I relocated quite a few venomous snakes for people, taking advantage of the situation to do a little impromptu education (even though I have zero education training). It felt glacial in its pace, but really, it also felt inexorable. Like, there's NO WAY we're going backwards to "Cracker Nation". (Hillbilly where you're at I guess.) Even if it takes 3 generations. You might only change a few adult killers, but you can stop a lot of young kids from becoming killers. And sometimes the adults who changed become like smokers or drinkers who quit - real Bible-thumpers on the subject. I guess I'm saying - celebrate your victories and don't obsess over your defeats.

As for research - me too, I support anything leading to improved management. You mention telemetry - observational telemetry is alright - sometimes useful, sometimes not, always fascinating - but experimental telemetry can be really powerful stuff. As a TR example - wouldn't it be nice, within a given ecoregion, to know the best age-class distribution of forest stands, and the best patch sizes for those stands, to achieve the goal of maximum TR survival and recruitment? That kind of research can be done, pretty easily on experimental public forests and even easier on private (especially industrial) land. It would be great fun. It could be very useful - forestry is a major land-use across horridus' range. That's all I want - useful.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 3:40 pm 
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Jimi,

I'm with you on that. Progress is slow and often frustrating. Continuing to see these snakes senselessly killed each year however is sufficient motivation to plow ahead. Fourteen years ago ago myself and several like minded individuals formed the Kentucky Herp Society. This organization has grown steadily over the years and we have delivered our message of conservation to hundreds and perhaps thousands of individuals to date. We run the full gamut from schools, scouts, church groups, universities, other herp societies and just regular old John Q. Public. Some of our members that were kids in the early years have went on to become professionals in the fields of herpetology and conservation. Its comforting to think that we have made a difference, but as you know, there is much more work to be done.

I'm intrigued with all the posibilities that telemetry presents. Along with what you brought up I'm particularly interested in what locations are selected as rookeries and hibernacula.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 4:28 pm 
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Phil Peak wrote:
... I think we can all agree that research without applied results equates to little.

No, we certainly can't. :roll: Although I understand where such a perspective comes from, I can't help but see it as tragically myopic. Fortunately, a great many people in America still share my view.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 5:01 pm 

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Along with what you brought up I'm particularly interested in what locations are selected as rookeries and hibernacula.


Me too, Phil, me too. Especially, or I guess in a follow-on thought, how can we make or enhance them? Plenty of rookeries & hibernacula have been physically destroyed, and plenty of others have been depopulated by "organized warfare" (and perhaps occasionally, just by long term casual harassment) against the inhabitants. And perhaps rookeries are shading out - there's probably a discernible (and real...) pattern to that, related to site productivity and also exposure to windstorms and other micro-disturbance agents.

In some places the availability of secure, reliable rookeries & hibernacula is probably a factor limiting the growth of the local TR population. My guess is, it'd be a lot easier to create new, nearby ones to "bud" new populations into (on their own crawl), than to re-establish (out of a sack) populations into distant or isolated depopulated ones. And we may also need to know how to manage the shading around rookeries. That's all just a guess though. But whatever - we probably need to be figuring out all this. So anyway, telemetry is probably a required tool for all of these applied-research strategies.

Looping back to my earlier ideas about applied silviculture - I wonder if there are stand-management techniques that would entice dispersing or traversing snakes toward created and/or enhanced hibernacula and/or rookeries? To increase the odds the snakes spend time in the neighborhood around them (perhaps feeding, digesting, and "cooking babies"), thus they & perhaps their progeny would be more likely to encounter & evaluate those created or enhanced hibernacula & rookeries? I think it's all worth a serious look, if we want to secure the future of TRs.

BTW - anybody wants to use any of these ideas - they're yours, take them! I don't eat or starve by the ebb & flow of my pubs, I don't have to be hypersensitive about protecting "my ideas" until I can harvest a profit from them; I don't need credit. Take them if you can use them.

Before I go - an amusing but relevant anecdote. One of my grad school committee members, Gary White of MARK fame, beat into my head (and everyone else's) - ""Collar and foller" is bullshit - we - you guys - need to do more experiments with telemetry if we're really going to learn anything." Gary's kind of a hardass but I truly love him. What he means of course is that we have much stronger logical inference, much stronger external validity, and will learn much more, much faster - with an experimental rather than with an observational approach. (So if you want to figure out all these management techniques, you might have an easier time in PA than in NH!)

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 5:07 pm 
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Gerry,

I didn't mean this necessarily as a broad based generalization but rather in the context of how research is applied to the conservation of the TR.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 5:25 pm 
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Good thoughts Jimi. Along those same lines, we had two major weather events in recent years that dramatically changed the local landscape. A wind storm followed by an ice storm about five months later. The result was many downed trees and large openings through the forests canopies. This phenomena created lots of opportunities for thermoregulation that previously did not exist.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 5:55 pm 
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Phil Peak wrote:
Gerry,

I didn't mean this necessarily as a broad based generalization but rather in the context of how research is applied to the conservation of the TR.

Phil

I appreciate you clarifying that, Phil, and in that specific context I'm happy to agree with you. :beer: There are plenty of people around (here and elsewhere) who seem to see pure research as "frivolous" or worse, though, so I'm sure you can understand my sensitivity on the subject (despite the fact that most of my own work has been rather applied in nature).

Jimi, that criticism of telemetry studies lacking scientific design is spot on. As has your academic committee member, I've encountered far too many instances of people (and not always students, at that) who think that it's just fine to put a collar on something and then start collecting data, never giving what they're doing any more thought than that. Such an unstructured approach is in some cases better than nothing, I suppose, but it's not nearly what it could be. The only times my wife and I have done that is in the context of very limited pilot studies to work out various essential details before beginning the real work. On that note, a step-wise project design that allows for a limited amount of less-focused work (such as "collar and foller") up front can be very productive.

(And BTW back at you, of all the many scientists I've known in my work and life, I've never known any to profit from publications in the manner you seem to be suggesting except when they've gone to the substantial extra effort to write a book - usually while on a sabbatical taken for that purpose. I know that you're aware of the kind of crap that's spread these days on Fox News et al. and that even appears on these message boards from time to time, about scientists reporting the study results that they do not because those are actually the results of sound scientific work but instead because the scientists are hoping for some kind of unethical payoff, and you should also be aware that comments such as yours can feed directly into people believing that nonsense. We've discussed this kind of thing before. I'd appreciate it if you kept whatever chip you have on your shoulder concerning scientists/scientific work to yourself and didn't pepper these message boards with general expressions of it.)

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 8:14 pm 

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@gb:

impact factor, tenure

capisce?

:sleep:

out,
Jimi


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 7:00 am 
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Jimi,

It's possible to promote wildlife management and conservation without putting down (be it by sidelong swipe or more overt slam) scientists and scientific research.

Understand?

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 9:27 am 

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Phil wrote:

Quote:
I'm intrigued with all the posibilities that telemetry presents. Along with what you brought up I'm particularly interested in what locations are selected as rookeries and hibernacula.


In our subsequent conversation I realized we may have gone into depths & details that could discourage or turn away people who aren't likely to enjoy a chance to do snake telemetry. Which is probably most folks here.

I wouldn't want to do that. Phil's gorgeous "binder full of timbers" (his series of photos of many different individual snakes) brings to mind the contributions anyone here could make, if they put some thought and effort into it. It would take some coordination with a study designer or an ongoing investigation (whether at an agency or an academic institution), but a "mark-recapture" effort using photos to ID unmolested individual snakes could really bolster & complement the information created from a telemetry experiment. Or you could participate in a stand-alone mark-recapture project - no radio work needed.

A guy with a camera & some operating skills, some note-taking skills and some field craft (does this sound like anyone on FHF?!?) can gather info on a lot more animals, over a lot longer time span, than a guy with a radio receiver and a handful or implanted study subjects. (The radio guy obviously enjoys major advantages with his approach too; however, cheap, easy, and convenient are not among them).

On a lighter note, I hope Phil's photos can begin to dispel the common notion that Kentucky has the ugliest timbers! Several of those are pretty sweet. (And yeah, one or two are kinda fugly, ha ha. Every batch has 'em.)

Cheers,
Jimi




Oh yeah. Gerry. Dude, can't you see it's not "science and scientists" that bug me? It's the academician system that has grown up around them, that has insulated them from the broader society they inhabit. The society that becomes increasingly alienated against them. The society that - for now - supports & invests in them lavishly, and that they should repay in service. Many do, but many do not - some reject the very notion - and from what I observe the latter trend might be accelerating (individuals find it hard to buck the system), and it certainly isn't getting better. I think we do our younger or less formally-educated readers a service in airing some hard realities. Really, this is the same argument one could make against the plutocrats who do not want to pony up to do their part in resolving our deep, structural, economic quagmire:
"Don't be a club of arrogant antisocial pricks, the fact is, we're all in this together; like it, deny it, hate it, doesn't really matter, it just IS. So pull your weight and then some, or we can all go down together."
(You know, if I was on a capitalists' forum I'd be saying the same thing, and probably be getting called anti-capitalist for it, a traitor even. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And attacking the messenger doesn't change or silence the message, it just pisses off the sender.)

As far as basic vs applied science - we're not talking about quantum physics here, we're - at least, I am - talking about conservation. An applied discipline. The very mission of NAFHA. Nothing basic about it.

Finally, as for your worries about FHF readers perverting what I say here or anywhere into an iota of support, validation, endorsement, etc for "Foxy Newsie" et al - either 1) you're grossly underestimating many people's comprehension abilities, and/or 2) you're concerning yourself with a few people who are too far gone to reach anyway, and/or 3) you're suffering paranoid delusions. I don't really care which it is. Just get it dealt with, if possible. Until then, see ya, I gotta go dig some pipe trench. Hope it's a nice day where you are - it sure is here!


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 9:52 am 

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Scientists deserve no special consideration or status...because they're susceptible to corruption like any other person. I know a few people who will spin volumes about their experiences as scientists and the corrupt, good ole boy system they had to crawl up just to advance. And let's not even get into sensationalism for the sake of grant procurement. Science as an enterprise, though, deserves lots of love. :)


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 9:56 am 
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You can call what you're doing whatever you like, Jimi, and you can espouse whatever reason for it that you like, too. The fact remains that you're doing no good to wildlife management or conservation by perpetually peppering these message boards with denigrating remarks about science/academics/whatever-you-want-to-call-your-target-at-the-moment. You go on and on (and on) about how you're a productive guy, trying to encourage everyone to be similarly productive on behalf of conservation, but what you're doing in this respect is clearly counterproductive.

Just one small, recent case in point:

Jimi wrote:
BTW - anybody wants to use any of these ideas - they're yours, take them! I don't eat or starve by the ebb & flow of my pubs, I don't have to be hypersensitive about protecting "my ideas" until I can harvest a profit from them; I don't need credit. Take them if you can use them.

If there was any point in saying any of the above (beyond self-aggrandizement, I mean), it was conveyed in the very first sentence:

Jimi wrote:
BTW - anybody wants to use any of these ideas - they're yours, take them!...

Instead of accomplishing anything whatsoever productive, all the remainder did was encourage whomever here is inclined (as you yourself apparently are) to see scientists/academics/what-have-you as Fox News tries to persuade people to see them, and prompt me to pull this discussion off-course to deal with your latest gratuitous slam.

Whatever you're "bugged" about, I strongly suggest that you try venting to your significant other, therapist or neighborhood bartender about it and stop dumping crap here on people and a profession you should be trying to work with rather than alienate.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 10:15 am 

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Jimi , what I’m seeing here is, you’re being challenged about, or asked to justify why you would prefer to see science applied in ways more immediately and directly beneficial to the animals themselves. Yes, the animals that some of these folks here make or have made their living off of….Unbelieveable. At what point is that nothing more than exploitation?

Just wanted to point that out before your head implodes lol. You may want to consider at some point you’re perhaps wasting your time with some here.

And Gerry- can we at least agree the snakes probably don’t care who’s to blame, who’s right, who’s wrong, etc while we sit here and debate it…?


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 11:31 am 
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ugh wrote:
Jimi , what I’m seeing here is, you’re being challenged about, or asked to justify why you would prefer to see science applied in ways more immediately and directly beneficial to the animals themselves...

Hardly. If Jimi prefers applied research over - even thinks its vastly more important than - pure research then that's his prerogative. There are plenty of people around who promote applied over pure research (in the service of wildlife management/conservation or whatever) without slamming research that doesn't match their desires, or slamming scientists when applied research isn't being used (by wildlife managers/conservationists or whatever) per their desires.

Indeed, most of us manage to learn at some point in childhood that it's not necessary to put other people/things down in order to try to elevate the people/things we prefer. Certainly those of us who genuinely care about being productive should at the very least learn that lesson in adulthood when the people/things we're inclined to put down (for whatever reason) could in fact be allies in our efforts.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 1:55 pm 
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There does seem to be a high degree of interest in TR conservation among herpers in general. Does anyone know if there is a national organization that focuses on this species?

Phil


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 4:08 pm 

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Phil,
I am loving your TR photos!


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 7:39 pm 

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Quote:
There does seem to be a high degree of interest in TR conservation among herpers in general. Does anyone know if there is a national organization that focuses on this species?


There certainly does seem to be a lot of interest in their conservation, among "amateur" herpers as well as academics, agency folks, and also I think the zoo community. But I've never heard of such a national-level organizational focus (quite possibly because a) there's plenty I don't know about and b) TR is not ESA-listed across its entire range, nor is it likely to be for the foreseeable future).

I think there are plenty of opportunities to raise working groups and such in existing organizations - for example NEPARC or Midwest PARC could easily form their own TR working groups (heck, maybe they already have). NEAFWA - the NE Assoc of Fish & Wildlife Agencies - could do the same thing. Maybe they have. WAFWA ("western", mine) has e.g., sage-grouse, mule-deer, grassland birds, and other working groups that focus on single-species, species-guild, habitat-type, and specific-threat management. The Wildlife Society's (TWS) Midwest or Northeast Chapters could also form (or already have) TR working groups.

There might also be the possibility of a private group taking on the problem - Orianne Society comes to mind immediately. Maybe not rangewide but - perhaps where they are either most heinously imperiled, or maybe where they're quite imperiled but not yet a lost cause. But...any organization needs to maintain some focus, and not take on new projects willy-nilly. (Be ready for this: if you get a solid "no", just move on to the next organization!) Orianne might possibly be "full up" for a while. Who knows? I would ask them. Another option might be a zoo-affiliated institution like WCS/Bronx Zoo (although Sandy may have...). Or Zoo Atlanta, or San Diego Zoo Global, or the Tennessee Aquarium, or the Oklahoma Zoo...sheesh the possibilities are just endless.

Finally, you could just try your local state wildlife agency, and ask them to form a diverse (several agencies, key landowners, committed enthusiasts, etc) working group to craft and initiate the implementation of a management plan. Oh, one last thing - sometimes you find friends in trippy places. Managing bats, for example, if you aren't working with your local spelunkers yet, you are missing the boat. Another - before he left Utah for Nevada, Jason Jones was doing outreach to the rock-climbing community - those guys see a lot of snakes, and find a lot of snake dens, and usually have some environmental ethic & don't absolutely hate snakes. Just something to think on - Lord knows we need friends, and sometimes we find them in curious places. Sometimes they already have their own little organizations and networks we can plug into for data and intel.

Overall - great question. In my experience, the hardest part of starting some new conservation initiative is getting "critical mass" to agree 1) that there is actually a problem, and 2) what that problem is. The greater "herp" (amateur and pro) community is there, more or less - what American with a pulse and any herp sense at all doesn't know TRs are in serious trouble in certain parts of their range? However...the beauty of focusing in on a smaller area is, it's easier to agree on what the problem is, right there (is it overharvest or indiscriminate killing or suburban sprawl or roadkill or strip mining or...phew, it's all of them, somewhere...). And it's waaaaayyyyy easier to herd a small group of "cats" than a large one (please just trust me on this!!!). If you go big scale you can spend a lot of time talking, around and around and around. A small group can move faster - and it might have a harder time raising money. But then again - maybe lack of money is not really the problem - maybe it's just overcoming the inertia of getting started. And sometimes, if you're strictly local, you can find a "sugar daddy" to get you started. Once you upscale, you're competing with everyone for money and attention. All in all, I'd stay pretty local. Even if you're crossing state lines, keep it focused. Like you could work KY/TN/WV/OH coal country. Or NY/PA/OH Marcellus country. (Hey, speaking of sugar daddies - hello gas! Seriously, investigate this angle, it might pay off. Lots of companies want a little green tinting. Some are generous.)

So, you've mentioned some of the actions you've taken personally in KY. Have you tried to get others there "infected with your virus" yet there? I mean in a working-group kind of way? If you can get your state wildlife agency on board to lead the creation of a management plan, you all could start implementing it within 2-3 years. (Sooner or later, you'll need their okay for something, at the very minimum...). If they're not very interested, maybe someone at the KY Chapter of TWS (a USFS biologist, an academic, a FWS Refuge biologist, someone...) could take the lead in starting a working group. Just a million thoughts...

BTW, I love it that you haven't been worn down (although if you dig in and push ahead, you will have a few bad days!) Good on ya. Solid citizen.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 2:08 am 
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Quote:
There might also be the possibility of a private group taking on the problem - Orianne Society comes to mind immediately. Maybe not rangewide but - perhaps where they are either most heinously imperiled, or maybe where they're quite imperiled but not yet a lost cause.


I am pretty sure the Orianne Society is currently doing some work with preserving Timbers in the Northeast, and perhaps the Southern Appaclachians as well.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 7:21 pm 

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Phil I think the TR photos you have posted are the only good that came from this post. I actually regret posting this status, I am sure more than half of the people that have read this post don't exactly like me.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 5:40 am 

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Some pretty good discussion and important points very relevant to the species were brought up here, I'm actually surprised to hear you regret it considering you have an interest in this species enough to make a post asking about when you can see them.....Maybe I was overestimating that interest. Stick around and you may start to detect a pattern re: threads about this species in particular lol.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 7:09 am 
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Tamara,

Glad you are enjoying the photo's. They happen to be one of my favorite subjects!


Jimi,

Thanks for the insights! There's some good suggestions there. I'm familiar with the Indigo snake project that the Orianne Society is involved with. I agree, they may be worth contacting. We currently have an excellent relationship with the biologists in our state Fish and Game department. They share our concerns and have been very helpful in facilitating our projects, sharing information and getting us in touch with conservation oriented land owners. We have some really good things going on here locally. Now if we could just convince the average local to refrain from killing the snakes. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement!


Andrew G,

One thing that has always concerned me is the middle section of the Appalachians has historically been more exposed to exploitation than it has to conservation. Unlike the northern and southern sections of this range which tend to have an abundance of National Parks and federally owned wilderness area's, the middle portion has been known more for a place to extract coal. As a result, serious habitat degradation has occured locally and much of the land is in the hands of the mining companies.


James,

I'm really glad you liked the photo's I have been posting. Ugh is right though, much can be learned through these discussions. There are a variety of opinions and some interesting perspectives. It would be virtually impossible to have complete consensus, but the sharing of idea's is often the first step towards progress.


Phil


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 10:39 am 
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Phil Peak those are awesome pictures! :thumb:


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 2:04 pm 
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Thanks Todd! :)

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: November 14th, 2012, 8:12 am 
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Another timber rattler poaching bust.
From Philly.com :

POSTED: Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 3:01 AM
Two alleged rattlesnake rustlers are facing federal charges in the illegal capture of venomous snakes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to sell through their mail-order reptile business.
Robroy MacInnes, 54, and Robbie Keszey, 47, co-owners of the Glades Herp Farm in Bushnell, Fla., were indicted Tuesday, prosecutors said. According to the indictment, MacInnes and Keszey made several trips to Easton, Sellersville, and Jim Thorpe, Pa., in 2007 and 2008 to illegally trap, and sometimes buy, federally protected eastern timber rattlers, returning to Florida on commercial airlines. - Sam Wood

And more from the Pocono Record:

Two Fla. men charged in Pa. with snake trafficking

November 14, 2012
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Prosecutors say two Florida men and their company have been charged in federal court in Philadelphia with trafficking endangered and threatened snakes.

The U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday that 54-year-old Robroy MacInnes of Fort Myers, Fla.; 47-year-old Robert Keszey of Bushnell, Fla.; and Glades Herp Farm Inc. are charged with conspiracy to traffic in the reptiles. MacInnes and the company were charged with trafficking in protected timber rattlesnakes.

Authorities allege that the defendants collected protected snakes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey between 2007 and 2008, bought protected eastern timber rattlesnakes illegally collected in New York and transported threatened eastern indigo snakes from Florida to Pennsylvania.

A message couldn't be left at the company Tuesday and a number listed for MacInnes remained busy; a message left for Keszey wasn't immediately returned.


RW


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2012, 1:11 pm 

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Re: the possibility of Orianne Society working on TR conservation, I and then Andrew wrote:

Quote:

Quote:
There might also be the possibility of a private group taking on the problem - Orianne Society comes to mind immediately. Maybe not rangewide but - perhaps where they are either most heinously imperiled, or maybe where they're quite imperiled but not yet a lost cause.


I am pretty sure the Orianne Society is currently doing some work with preserving Timbers in the Northeast, and perhaps the Southern Appaclachians as well.


Evidence for that - page 17/24 at:
http://issuu.com/oriannesociety/docs/20 ... dium=email

cheers,
Jimi


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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2013, 7:55 am 
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here you go tamara.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: May 28th, 2014, 6:41 pm 

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I recently found and photographed a timber rattlesnake for the first time. There are not many in CT and they are state endangered. The area I found this snake definitely seemed to be in the right habitat. It was over 3 feet long and showed no sign of being aggressive or threatening. I am so glad the state is acting to try to protect them. We have a turn in poachers program that I am a fan of. I may post the picture as this is my first posting I am testing the waters.....any feedback?


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PostPosted: May 29th, 2014, 2:59 am 
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niteflyer8 wrote:
I recently found and photographed a timber rattlesnake for the first time. There are not many in CT and they are state endangered. The area I found this snake definitely seemed to be in the right habitat. It was over 3 feet long and showed no sign of being aggressive or threatening. I am so glad the state is acting to try to protect them. We have a turn in poachers program that I am a fan of. I may post the picture as this is my first posting I am testing the waters.....any feedback?


Go for it! :thumb:


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PostPosted: May 29th, 2014, 8:22 am 

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Quote:
I recently found and photographed a timber rattlesnake for the first time. There are not many in CT and they are state endangered. The area I found this snake definitely seemed to be in the right habitat. It was over 3 feet long and showed no sign of being aggressive or threatening. I am so glad the state is acting to try to protect them. We have a turn in poachers program that I am a fan of. I may post the picture as this is my first posting I am testing the waters.....any feedback?


Go for it! :thumb:


Agreed - let's see the photo. It may be the only time this year that particular animal is seen - a positive detection w/ individual ID could be useful for e.g. survival-rate estimation modeling. Or just something as simple as "minimum known alive".

I would, however, also caution you (on something you probably already know, having cited the burn-a-poacher program). Others here have noted CT's, uhm, extreme diligence in timber "protection". You might find yourself mistaken for one of those would-be poachers, and treated accordingly. Not a good time, very upsetting if you feel you've only got the animals' best interests at heart. Just something to think about. There are a variety of ways you could proceed, from just staying the hell away from that area now, to looking into whether there are any citizen-monitoring or -patrol opportunities available. Good luck, have fun, be careful.

Cheers,
Jimi


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2014, 6:50 pm 

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April through October? I am new to this. I read a book about the history of rattlesnake poaching in VT and NY. There were several poachers who killed thousands of these snakes. I am glad there are new laws and punishments designed to stop poaching. Its amazing that this species survived when you think about it. Bounties for 60 years.... development pressure....killings out of fear and loathing. It seems to me that they were a tough thing to eradicate and no one was ever successful. In some places the terrain is just to rugged for people to have gone in and killed every one. Hopefully these areas can be protected. I think the species has shown resilience with all its had to put up with and that the future might not be so bleak for them.


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